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enacted by his majesty, and the parliament of that kingdom, in all cases whatever, &c.* should be established and ascertained for ever, and should at no time thereafter be questioned or questionable.
But though the authority of the English legislature How English to make laws for Ireland was at all times denied by to be of force the Irish parliament, and was thus, at this memora- in Ireland. ble period of Irish history, renounced on the part of Great Britain; yet many English statutes have been from time to time adopted in Ireland by the parliament of this country. Sir Richard Bolton (formerly lord chief baron of the exchequer in Ireland) states in a note to his edition of the Irish statutes, that in the 13th year of king Edward II. the statute of Merton made the 20th of Henry II. [the statute of Westminster the first made the 3d of Edward I. the statute of Gloucester made the 6th of Edward I. and the statute of Westminster the second made the 13 Edward I.] were all confirmed by the parliament of Ireland; and all other statutes which were of force in England were referred to be examined in the next parliament. And that in the 10th of Henry IV. it was enacted in Ireland, that the statutes made in England should not be of force in Ireland, unless they were allowed and published in this kingdom by parliament. And that the like statute was made again in the 29th year of Henry VI. These statutes are not to be found in the parliament rolls: but Sir R. Bolton affirms, that he had seen the same exemplified under the great seal, and
*This act also restored the appellate jurisdiction to Ireland. † The Red Book of the exchequer, and Black Book of Christchurch, Dublin, contain entries or exemplifications of these statutes of Edward I. amongst others. And it appears from the memoranda at the foot of several English acts, that they were transmitted to Ireland by a transcript under the great seal of England.
that the exemplification remained in the treasury of
And by the 14 Hen. England for punishing searchers, for misde
meanors; or for punishment of merchants or factors; are enacted to be of force in Ireland; provided they should be first proclaimed at Dublin, Drogheda, and other market-towns. Several other acts passed in subsequent reigns might be here also referred to, which specially adopt particular English statutes. Some instances also occur of Irish acts explaining or repealing English statutes which had been previously in force in Ireland. But the cases are very numerous in which the Irish statutes appear to be literal transcripts of English acts, without any reference however to them and in many instances also the Irish acts are very nearly corresponding to the English statutes which they have followed with but little deviation. For all these I must refer to the body of this work: but the 21 & 22 Geo. 3. c. 48. Ir. (commonly called Yelverton's act) deserves to be Yelverton's here particularly noticed. This statute enacts, first, that all statutes made in England or Great Britain, under which any lands, &c. in this kingdom, or any estate or interest therein, are or is holden or claimed, or which concern the title thereto, or any evidence respecting the same; and, 2dly, all such clauses and provisions contained in any statutes made in England or Great Britain, concerning commerce, as import to impose equal restraints on the subjects of England or Ireland, and to entitle them to equal benefits; and, 3dly, all such clauses, &c. contained in any statutes made as aforesaid, as equally concern the seamen of England and Ireland, or Great Britain and Ireland, save so far as the same have been altered or repealed, shall be accepted, used, and executed in this kingdom: Provided (s. 2.) that all such statutes, so far as aforesaid, concerning commerce, shall bind the subjects of Ireland only so long as they continue to bind the subjects
subjects of Great Britain. And, 4thly, by s. 3. all such statutes made in England or Great Britain as concern the stile or calendar; and 5thly, all such clauses, &c. contained in any statutes made as aforesaid, as relate to the taking any oath or oaths, or making or subscribing any declaration or affirmation in this kingdom, or any penalty or disability for omitting the same; or, 6thly, which relate to the continuance of any office civil or military, or of any commission, or of any writ, process, or proceeding at law or in equity, or in any court of delegacy or review, in case of a demise of the crown, shall be accepted, &c. in this kingdom, according to the present tenor of the same respectively. From the vague or general terms in which this act is framed, it is not easy to say, with certainty, what English statutes were in the contemplation of its framer, or of the legislature in enacting it: but I have endeavoured, in several parts of these volumes, to point out such as appeared to me to be referred to by the respective clauses; save as to those concerning commerce, which do not fall within the scope of this work. Though this statute is objectionable in point of form, it is to the honor of the Irish parliament, that in the same session in which they repealed one of Poyning's acts (10 Hen. 7. c. 4.) as inverting the English constitution, and intrenching on their independence, they followed the principle of the other (10 Hen. 7. c. 22.) in adopting several English staVide pre- tutes, that, by a similarity of laws, they might amble to 21 strengthen and perpetuate that affection and har mony which at all times ought to subsist between Great Britain and Ireland." The period, however, was but short between the recognition of the independence of the Irish legislature in 1782, and its extinguishment by merger in the parliament of Great Britain; the act of union, (39 & 40 Geo. 3.
& 22 Geo. 3.
c. 48. Ir.
c. 67. Eng. and 40 Geo. 3. c. 88. Ir.) having provided by the third article, that the united kingdom should be represented in one and the same parliament, to be stiled "the parliament of the united kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland." The result of these prefatory observations is, that the common law of England and Ireland is the same; and as to the statute law, that many English statutes have been adopted in Ireland; and many also followed by acts of the Irish legislature, with little or no deviation. And it may be here also observed, that in several instances Ireland has taken the lead, the aets of the Irish parliament having been adopted or followed in England.
It had always appeared to me, from the time of Plan and obmy having first applied myself to the study of the ject of this law, to be a desirable object to inquire and point out how far the Irish parliament, during six centuries that it legislated for Ireland, had pursued the steps of the parliament of England or Great Britain; with what deviation the statutes of one country had been followed in the other, and what were the peculiar laws of England and Ireland respectively. The work of Mr. Eyre, which was published 30 years since, professed to have had this object in view, but it is a mere abridgment of the commentaries of Sir W. Blackstone, with a few notes refering to certain Irish statutes which are in pari materia with some of those English acts which are mentioned in the commentaries. The editors of the old abridgments of Irish statutes also professed to give tables of the English acts from which those of Ireland were taken: and Mr. Vesey's edition of the Irish statutes at large, contains marginal notes refering to several corresponding English acts, down to the reign of his present majesty; but it appeared to